Educational fellowship programs: common themes and overarching issues.Acad Med. 2006 Nov; 81(11):990-4.AM
The trend toward intensive faculty development programs has been driven by a variety of factors, including institutional needs for educational expertise and leadership, as well as individual faculty members' motivation to augment their educational expertise, teaching skills, and leadership skills. The nine programs described in this issue possess several common features that can be ascribed to shared perceptions of pervasive needs coupled with feasible educational resources and strategies to meet these needs. All programs identify a clear set of goals and objectives for their respective curricula. Curriculum domains include not only teaching skills but also educational research, curriculum development, and educational leadership. In spite of many similarities, each program reflects the unique character of its home institution, the faculty, educational resources, and the specific goals of the program. Each program has documented gains in such key outcomes as participant promotions, new leadership positions both locally and nationally, and scholarly productivity in the form of peer-reviewed papers and presentations. Evidence of institutional benefits includes the production of innovative curricula and a pool of educational leaders. The programs have also developed a community of knowledgeable scholars who interact with each other and serve as a catalyst for continuing change and educational improvement. Although each program was developed largely independently of the others, the common elements in their design provide opportunities to evaluate collaboratively the successful aspects of such programs and to share ideas and resources for program curricula between existing programs and with institutions considering implementing new programs.